I live in a city that prides itself on its many coffee shops. Coffee shop culture is very much so alive in my city and yet, I haven’t been able to find my ideal coffee shop. I’ve been brainstorming about what this fantasy place would look like and feel like and what it would feature. Here are the top three characteristics my dream coffee shop must have:
- Free wireless with top speed. Also, many power outlets for convenience. I’m a student and frequent user of the Internet. Therefore, I bring my laptop with me and need wireless on the go. Luckily, most coffee shops in town feature free wireless. However, there are the vile few who charge for wireless. These are the coffee shops that consistently lose my business.
- Quality drinks and quality baristas. These two should go hand in hand. If I’m going to pay an overpriced sum for a drink, then my expectation is the drink had better be good. I’ve worked as a coffee barista at several locations now. I know what it takes to make a perfect latte, mocha, cappuccino, espresso, americano, etc. I expect the barista to know what I know and to care enough about each drink to make it with the highest attention to detail.
- Ambience and presence. This combination can be tricky to achieve. I don’t even know if I can accurately describe it. Every coffee shop I go to carries its own atmosphere and tone. When I walk inside, I immediately get a feel for the place. For example, when I enter a Starbucks café the following words come to mind: overly commercial, trendy, predictable, corporate, machine. I never feel cozy at a Starbucks. (Unless, of course, it’s 4 am in the morning and I’ve just fallen asleep in front of their fireplace due to sleep depravation.) I also can’t feel comfortable when they’ve coined their ridiculous terminology and have no problem serving foamy lattes. (For those of you who don’t know – a latte should not have foam.) I prefer the ambience of more local, independently owned coffee shops. These coffee shops tend to be driven by love and creativity rather than a pre-calculated business formula. This usually leaves room for spontaneity and the feeling of entering the coffee shop less traveled. At the moment a coffee shop that does this very well is The Drowsy Parrot.
Other requirements for my dream coffee shop, include:
- Comfy chairs, roomy tables, plush seating.
- A menu with a wide variety of drink selections.
- Late hours – of course, the ideal being open 24 hours.
- Fair Trade selection of coffees and teas.
- Tasty, varied baked good options to go with drinks. Also, freshly made is important. I know a lot of coffee shops merely thaw out their food the night before. I prefer fresh baked goodness.